One of the nation’s best boutique gyms is right in Lincoln Park

SHARE One of the nation’s best boutique gyms is right in Lincoln Park

UPDATED 12/20/13

Boutique gyms are apparently all the rage, so much so that Details has created a list of the very best of them.

We can only assume that Chicago’s Air gym made the list because the workout consists of an interesting hybrid of barre, Pilates, yoga and hanging from the ceiling on scarves, er hammocks, a la Cirque du Soleil. The gym opened on September 4, according to founder and president Shama Patel.

“I was an attorney for a while and I held two memberships: one to the East Bank Club and another to Core Power yoga,” says Patel, who opened the Air gym in Lincoln Park. “I thought it was inefficient to have two memberships, so I created Flex and Fit (in Charlotte,) which housed all the unique fitness boutiques under one roof.”

Now that she’s back in Chicago, Patel, 31, decided to open up an aerial fitness studio to better serve work out buffs who need something more challenging than what is offered at your typical gym. A new River North location, at 676 N. Lasalle, will open January 13, 2014.

“The thing with boutique gyms in general is they focus on one type of exercise,” says Patel. “We’re not trying to be all things to everyone. If you haven’t worked out before, do not come to our class, it’ll kill you! This offers more of an advanced program.”

The silk hammocks hold up to 1,000 pounds, says Patel, and are installed by structural engineers. Aerial exercise is difficult and typically requires massive upper body strength, she says, but the exercises in her studio are modified for non-circus entertainers. She’s also offering a deal for newbies: $100 for one month of unlimited classes.

Adds Patel: “That the one niche area that I created within Flex and Fit is starting to be recognized is really cool.”

Read the Details article here.

— Adrienne Samuels Gibbs

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